California International Marathon
Yesterday I completed my second marathon- whoop, whoop!
I felt that my run was a great accomplishment in light of my recent move to Portland, starting a new job and having a new schedule where finding time to run has seemed so very difficult.
In addition my last 10 days of running were less than spectacular. The last 4 pre-marathon workouts just felt off, awkward and slow. Easy runs didn’t seem easy and the fast runs didn’t feel fast. I re-adjusted my expectations for the marathon, telling myself that competing and completing the marathon is a huge accomplishment by itself.
SO! Sunday morning arrived, I got up early, had my breakfast and got to the starting line with plenty of time to visit the porta-potties before the race. Porta-potty wait took approximately 35 minutes.
The morning was clear, 40 degrees and there was a slight head wind. Conditions seemed great for running. The start line was not too chaotic even with 6000 runners and some 500 relay participants. I found the 3:40 pace leader and waited for the race to begin. The gun went off, I made it over the start line and was on my way. I had decided before the race that I’d make my race management a priority. I would not let pace leaders, fast runners or the overall early morning adrenaline dictate my speed. I began conservatively; hanging near the 3:40 pace leader but not letting the gaggle of runners behind him get me in a panic.
Miles 1-4: The race started off with rolling hills. I took small walk breaks every 15 minutes for 45 seconds. This was a great strategy because I was able to regulate my pace and make sure that I wasn’t going out too fast.
Mile 5: Great friends there to cheer me on! Mike held a sign that said “Go Heather, you’re almost there!” That got a smile out of me. Ate first GU gel – vanilla bean
Mile 6: Passed my parents and main supporter group for first time – they passed me more GU and some Clif Bloks for the next refueling. At this point I was about 30 seconds ahead of the 3:40 pace leader. Still rolling hills!
Mile 7-10: I ditched the gloves early on but wanted them back as a cold head wind made for cold fingers. The rolling hills continued and I took my planned walk breaks and maintained a comfortable distance from the 3:40 pace. Still felt great.
Mile 12: Highlight: My brother appears out of nowhere, cow bell in hand, runs with me for a minute and asks, “Do you need more cowbell?” “I need more cowbell,” I replied.
Mile 13-15: Still feeling OK, my quads are beginning to complain. The hills are a bit deceptive. They aren’t big. Not any one hill is going to a break a runner, but after 13 miles of the gentle rolling hills my quads started to feel the burn. I began to think fondly of the finish line but realized I still have over 10 miles to go. Just keep running, just keep running!
Mile 15-18: I feel this is the toughest part of the race. I was sill in the teens, I wasn’t quite to 20 and I was beginning to tire. I forced myself to eat and drink at according to my schedule even if I was beginning to feel nauseous. It was a good move and I reaped the benefits during Mile 23 and beyond.
Mile 21: My support group and their sign greet me at mile 21. I am tired. I am ready to stop. “5 More Miles! 5 More Miles” I yell to them. They yell back at the top of their lungs, “You can do it! You can do it, Heather!”
Mile 21-24: People are starting to look haggard, exhausted and unhappy. Most of them have that determined, stony face. The crowd shouts, the banners wave. I continue to run. My mantra: You can do this. You can do this. I don’t have the energy or the capacity to come up with anything more creative.
Mile 25: I am going to do this! I neared the capitol. My legs are not happy but I am passing runners. I am not happy, but I am still running. I am going to do this!
Mile 25.75: I pass my parents for the last time: My dad yells “You’re going to make it!!!”
Mile 26: 200 meters has never seemed so long. Where is the finish line, damnit!??
Finish line: I am going to make it!! I hear my brother’s voice yell from somwhere, “RUNNN!!! Heather!!!!” I can’t look anywhere or do anything except zone in on the finish line and sprint – as much as I can after 26 miles – to the finish line!
Finishing Time: 3:38
Qualified for Boston on my second marathon!